Towards the end of the 17th century, John Locke hypothesised that “No man’s knowledge [here] can go beyond his experience”. Such insightful pondering is echoed in Plane Laces’ new EP opener Perception is Reality; sadly however, the similarities end there.
Despite the initial proximity to enlightenment philosophy, the track does little in the way of enlightening, or entertaining, its listener. The soothing of intricate acoustics and keys lead into some peculiar conflation of rapping, singing and/or R&B-ing – an unnerving place where the words ‘self’, ‘head’ and ‘help’ are inexplicably and bafflingly rhymed. Things only get stranger as the track creeps on. Heightened intensity transforms the R&B/Pop/Rap vocal into something resembling a sultry incarnation of Rage Against The Machine, only visceral polemic is substituted for flailing eschatological prophesying, the kind that wears a foil hat and tells us we only have three Tuesdays left.
From here the EP is at least uphill. Painless has a more measured vocal style for the most part, and individually there are some nice components. A soulful bass line rising to the foreground offers a nice surprise, and the collective instrumentation of the bridge climaxes at a crescendo of emotion lacking elsewhere in the EP. Lyrically however, the track falls short again, in particular at lines like “Destroyed the empathy/ everything’s temporary” where everything seems forced and awkward.
Neglect, similarly to its neighbour, is impressive in parts of its instrumentation. Classical acoustic guitar work opens the track before evolving into something jazz infused – the impressive transition is neither clunky or gratuitous. Listening to the rest of the track is a restless experience, as it constantly shifts in tempo and style. It is undoubtedly the best of the bunch, in that it is completely different. I’m all for diversity in an album, but when an EP is only three songs long and attempts to transcend any sense of genre or identity, it makes at times for uneasy listening. Sadly, it seems like a case of the artist trying too hard.